The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JOHN FORSTER ; 19 February 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400219-TC-JF-01; CL 12: 51-52


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea / Wednesday [19? February 1840]

Many thanks, my dear Sir, for your beautiful Book.1 You will find in the four volumes which I return no marks of reprobation that I remember; tho' the whole was read by me with unusual attention,—attention, however, rather of a learner than of a critic.—The style of the volume I carried with me yesterday seems altered a little? Altered and improved! It is right that a man learn and grow; the meaning of his being alive is that he grow. But why do you make poor Noll such a Knave? I cannot believe him to have been at bottom dishonest, or false at all. Poor fellow, he was swimming as in a dim sea of wrecks and troubles: difficult to make good work there!— I mean to read the whole Book over again, with new watchfulness.

And now for Saturday: do not by any means forget to come! I send you Spedding's Letter; a melancholy emblem of the state our poor scheme lies in at present,—till you and your party cry heartily, Manos a l'obra [Hands to the plow]! Then I should say it were done.

If you have not a copy of the Prospectus, Spedding will send you one.2

I am over head and ears in wretched old Proofsheets and Etceteras.

Ever truly yours (with thanks)

T. Carlyle